After tasting success with the Verito sedan (earlier called Logan) with sales trebling in the last two years, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) now plans to launch a sub-four meter version of the car.
M&M had bought the 49 per cent stake of Renault in the joint venture company Mahidnra Renault Pvt Ltd in April 2010, and decided to go on their own with the Logan. "We continued with the same brand name for a year, until we launched the Mahindra Verito in April 2011 with the M&M badge and new styling features", said Ravindra S Shahane, senior general manager, marketing, M&M. The Logan sold around 5,000 units during 2009-10
The re-branding sure helped, as sales picked up post Verito launch, the car selling 10,009 units in 2010-11, and further growing by 78 per cent to 17,850 units in 2011-12. "The super compact sedan category comprising cars like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Toyota Etios, Hyundai Accent and the Mahindra Verito, grew by 40 per cent during FY11, and by 32 per cent in FY12, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). In comparison, the Verito growth has been encouraging", Shahane said.
He added that the company is working on launching a sub-four meter version of the sedan soon. "We are working on a compact version of the car. The sub-four meter category attracts an excise duty of 12 per cent while longer cars attract double excise rates at around 24 per cent", Shahane told Business Standard. According to sources, M&M can launch the compact Verito sedan by the end of this financial year, and a hatchback variant can also be in the offing.
Both the variants will continue to exist side-by-side, informed Jacob Verghese, senior general manager, sales of West Zone, M&M.
Meanwhile, Mahindra is also working on increasing the localisation component of the car. The Verito now runs on a Renault engine, and has around 50 per cent localisation. "We import the entire powertrain and some other components at present. We are working on increasing localisation, but nothing is planned on developing the engine here in India as of now", Shahane said.
Higher localisation would help Mahindra to make prices more competitive. "If we compare the top-end variants of the Verito, Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Toyota Etios, the Mahindra Verito is cheaper than the Dzire by Rs 40,000 and from the Etios by around Rs 1.28 lakh", he added.
As for the newly launched face-lift version of the Verito, M&M is expecting to register sales growth of around 30 per cent. The new Verito has 23 new design and style changes, and is costlier by Rs 8,000-20,000 compared to the earlier version. The petrol car has been priced Rs 5.26 lakh-5.48 lakh in Ahmedabad, while the diesel variant costs around Rs 6.24-7.13 lakh ex-showroom in the city.